Preventing and Treating a Dry Socket: Scottsdale Dentist

Following the removal of a tooth, there is a “socket” where the tooth used to be rooted. In the right conditions, (about 97% of the time) a blood clot should form in the place of the socket, leaving your gums to heal over it normally. Unfortunately, 2-3% of people experience a “dry socket” (alveolar osteitis) – where the blood clot does not form – causing extreme pain from nerve and bone being exposed.

Why do some people get dry sockets?

To some people, there are heightened risks associated with the development of a dry socket. Some risks include smoking, poor oral hygiene, wisdom teeth removal, use of birth control or other medications, rinsing and spitting after an extraction, and history of dry sockets.

What does a dry socket feel like?

Symptoms of dry sockets may include an appearance of an “opening” in your extraction site, radiating pain to your ear and bad breath a few days after your extraction.

How can I prevent a dry socket?

After your tooth extraction, make sure to follow healing habits:

  • try to avoid touching the area with your tongue, fingers, food, objects
  • avoid smoking for at least 24 hours
  • do not rinse, spit, or use a straw for at least 24 hours, this creates a negative pressure that may dislodge your healthy blood clot
    • you may stand over a sink and let fluids ease out naturally by gravity
  • maintain oral hygiene, avoiding brushing over the extraction site, but gently using mouthwash (gently like the above point)

What can my Scottsdale dentist do for my dry socket?

Luckily, treatment for dry sockets is relatively simple. Your Scottsdale dentist will clean the area of extraction and fill the void with a medicated dressing that promotes healing. Your Scottsdale dentist may give you dressing to take home to continue care for your dry socket. Antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatories may be prescribed to you if your dentist sees this is needed.

If you have recently had a tooth extraction and feel that you may have a dry socket, contact your Scottsdale dentist today for quick treatment!